Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cardboard Spear and No-Sew Guard Costume

We were recently invited to a Mad Hatter themed tea party and I thought it would be fun if my son dressed up as a playing card guard to go with the theme. It was a quick and easy costume to create and the techniques can easily be adapted to suit other knight and guard costumes.


- large shirt
- duct tape
- scissors
- exacto knife and cutting surface
- pencil

1. Cut the sleeves off the shirt (unless you don't want to damage the shirt, then just skip to step 2).

2. Stick duct tape onto the cutting surface. Overlap strips to create larger pieces, if necessary. Draw a design on the duct tape. Cut out your design. Carefully peel the pieces off the cutting surface and stick them onto the shirt. DONE. (The duct tape should be easy to remove once you're done using the costume.)


- cardboard tube
- cardboard pieces
- duct tape
- scissors, exacto knife
- pencil

1. Decide on the design you want for the spear tip. I went with a simple diamond shape. Draw it onto a piece of paper or cardboard. Add a section approximately 3" long and as wide as the interior diameter of the cardboard tube (this is called the "tang"). Cut out this pattern piece and trace it onto more pieces of cardboard, then cut them out. I did six pieces. The tang might need to be narrower on your outside pieces of your pile in order to fit inside the tube.

2. Pile up the pieces and check to make sure that they fit into the tube. Make any necessary adjustments.

Glue the pieces together in a pile. Allow to dry.

3. Cover the tip and part way down the tang in duct tape. Slide into the tube to ensure that it still fits. Adjust if necessary.

4. Cover the cardboard tube in duct tape. Glue the tang inside one end of the tube.

DONE! Didn't I say "quick and easy"?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cardboard Mountie Hat - Canada Day

I wanted to make a special hat to wear on Canada Day but I couldn't come up with any ideas, so I hopped on Pinterest and searched "Canada hat" for inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the two most common results were toques (knit caps) and Mountie hats (RCMP Biltmore campaign hats). Since you rarely need a toque here on Canada Day, I decided to try my hand at creating a Mountie hat out of cardboard.

Light brown cardboard is the perfect material to use, since it's already the correct color and is sturdy enough to hold the shape while being pliable enough to form. The crown is a bit tricky, but if I can do it, you can.

The shape of these hats is designed to block sunlight and repel rain, but I would recommend trying to waterproof the cardboard with clear acrylic spray before you wear it in a downpour. This can be done once the hat is assembled. You can also paint the hat any color that you prefer, especially if you want to wear it for part of a drill sergeant or state trooper costume.

- cardboard sheets
- white glue
- glue gun, glue sticks
- ruler, pencil
- exacto knife, scissors
- ribbon
- items to decorate the completed hat (fake leaves, stickers, patches, etc.) - optional

1. Cut a strip of cardboard 6" wide by 25" long.

NOTE: This size will fit most adults and teenagers, but it sits a bit high on your head. To make it a different size, adjust the measurements while keeping the same proportions.

Also, if I make another hat, I plan to do it 7" wide instead of 6" and make the lines in step 2.A at 1" and 3" instead. This will make the hat an inch taller

2. Measure and mark the following lines/points:
A. horizontal lines 1" and 2" from the bottom edge
B. vertical lines every inch across the bottom edge up to the 1" horizontal line
C. vertical lines 3" down from the top edge at: 1", 6", 7", 12", 13", 18", 19", 24"
D. 45 degree angled lines down from the bottom points of the 3" lines (C) to the horizontal line 2" up from the bottom edge at: 2", 5", 8", 11", 14", 17", 20", 23"
E. angled lines from the top point of C to the bottom point of D
F. mark the point on E that is 1 3/8" from the bottom of the line, then draw a line that is 3" long from that point angled up to the top edge.
(You can erase the excess part of E or just ignore it when you're cutting).

3. Cut lines B, C, D, E, and F. Fold both A lines.

4. Bend the strip into a ring with the ends overlapping 1". Cut off one of the 1" squares that are overlapped.

5. Glue the overlapping areas together. I prefer white glue for this, held in place with binder clips while drying. Allow to dry thoroughly.

6. Use a glue gun to glue D to E and C to F. Glue two, glue the two opposite, then glue in between. The centers of the "diamond" sections should be pushed in slightly and the narrow sections should bow out slightly.

7. Flip the entire piece upside down on a small piece of cardboard and trace the small opening at the top. Cut out slightly bigger, check the fit, adjust if necessary, and glue gun in place.

8. Cut two 14" or 16" diameter circles from cardboard. (I did 16" but if I make another one I think I'll use 14".)

9. Place the top of the hat centered on one of the circles and mark the 8 corners where the 1" squares leave a triangular gap. Make small reference marks on the crown and brim so you can get it lined up correctly after you cut it. (I forgot to do this and trust me, you'll be happy you did it.)

Move the top of the hat. Draw lines between the 8 points to form an octagon.

Cut out the octagon.

10. Slide the circle with the octagon cut out over the top of the hat and check that it fits down flat over the sides and covers the 1" squares. Adjust if necessary.

11. Remove the brim and place it on the other circle. Trace the octagon onto the other circle and make a reference mark on the other circle. Cut out the octagon slightly smaller than the first one. I also rounded the corners a bit.

12. Glue gun the first circle in place to the top of the 1" squares. Glue the second circle to the bottom of the 1" squares and the bottom of the first circle.

13. Now it's time to decorate the hat. If you want to waterproof it or paint it, do that now.

Mountie hats have a medium brown hat band with a buckle, but I chose to glue gun on a red ribbon instead.

14. Add any other decorations that you like. I glued on some fake red maple leaves.


I think this would be a fun table center for a party too. What else do you think it would be good for?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Canada Day Wreath

There are so many talented people out there making amazing wreaths for all seasons and occasions and I was inspired to try my own. Since Canada will be 150 years old on July 1st, I decided to design a patriotic wreath for our house. The basic techniques can be used to make wreaths for other holidays, birthdays, or even to show support for your favorite sports team.

- foam core board (or cardboard)
- scissors, exacto knife
- acrylic paint, brushes
- pencil
- ribbon, fake leaves/flowers, other decorations, if desired

1. Draw a circle on the foam board whatever size you want the wreath to be. I traced around a dinner plate to make a fairly small wreath.

Draw a second smaller circle in the center of the first, leaving a few inches of space between the two circles.

2. Draw or trace a maple leaf in the smaller circle, making sure that several parts of the leaf extend past the line into the ring between the two circles.

NOTE: If you want to make the wreath more than a single layer thick, you can glue the layers together before or after cutting.

3. Cut out around the outside of the large circle.

Cut out the pieces between the small circle and the maple leaf.

4. Paint the maple leaf red. I did one coat of regular acrylic paint and one coat of pearl red.

5. Paint the ring between the circles white. I did one coat of regular acrylic paint and one coat of pearl white.

NOTE: The paint will probably warp the foam board. Painting the back side will help warp it back, or you can squish the wreath beneath something heavy to flatten it again.

6. Add whatever additional decorations that you like, such as ribbon wrapped around the ring or hanging down from the bottom, letter stickers spelling out "CANADA", or red and white glitter.

7. Decide how you want to hang the wreath and attach the necessary loop or piece to the back near the top.

8. Proudly hang your beautiful wreath on the door or wall. DONE!

I was thinking that a larger red ring around/behind this would look great if I decided to make it larger. What else do you think would be fun to try with this wreath?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mad Hatter Top Hat

Need a cool hat to wear to a tea party? Looking for a unique box for collecting greeting cards at an event? Does your kid want to be the Mad Hatter or a magician for Halloween? Whether you enjoy "Alice in Wonderland" or just love a great costume, this post is for you. This technique can be used to build a variety of top hats, so you can customize it to your needs.

The first thing that you'll need to do is figure out the size that you want to make the hat. If you want to make it to wear (like I did), measure the intended wearer's head circumference, add an inch or so, and this will be the length of your main piece of cardboard (about 22" - 24" for teens and adults). If you want to use the hat for a greeting card box, you'll probably want to make it even larger. You can also make a smaller hat and attach it to a headband.

Your options for decorating the hat are about as diverse as Lewis Carroll's characters. You can wrap the hat in fabric (like I did), wrapping paper, or duct tape. You can cover the hat in paper mache and paint it. You can reference photos online and copy the hat worn in one of the movies, complete with the 10/6 price tag, or use whatever colors and accents that you want. The possibilities are endless.

- large, flat pieces of cardboard
- tape, glue
- ruler, pencil
- scissors, exacto knife
- materials for covering and decorating the hat

1. For my adult-sized hat, I used a piece of cardboard 22.5" long and 12" wide. I wish that I had done 24" long instead, but I did a little "flair" at the bottom of the top of the hat, which made the opening bigger. Your choice. Cut out the piece of cardboard.

2. Measure and mark the following lines on your piece of cardboard:
a. 2" down from the top edge
b. 1" and 2" up from the bottom edge
c. across the middle
d. every 1.5" or so across the entire length

3. Cut the "cut" lines. Score and fold on the "fold" lines.

4. Form the cardboard into a cylinder. Butt the edges together and tape along the seam on the outside. On the inside, glue/tape a narrow strip of cardboard over the seam to strengthen it.


5. Cut three circles of cardboard that are 12" in diameter. From the center of one, cut a 10" diameter circle out. Cut an additional circle 10.25" in diameter. You should have the following pieces:
a. two 12" diameter circles = top and bottom of brim
b. one 12" diameter ring = middle of brim
c. one 10" diameter circle = inside top of hat
d. one 10.25" diameter circle = outside top of hat

6. Tuck the 10" diameter circle inside the top "flaps" of the hat so that it rests on the fold 2" from the ends.

7. Glue the flaps down to the circle. Start at one side, do the flap across from it, then continue to crisscross - this will help keep the circle centered. You may have to trim the corners off some of the flaps. Don't worry if the hat ends up a little "wonky", it's going to look great.

8. Fill in the center with cardboard scraps, if you want to add strength, and glue in place. Glue the 10.25" circle on top.


9. In the center of the two 12" diameter circles, draw an oval the size that you want for the opening. You can practice getting the shape right on scrap pieces first, then trace it onto your circles. For adults, it's about 7.5" wide by 8.5" long. If the hat won't be worn, you can just do 8" circles. Cut out the middles.

Slide one ring onto the hat from the bottom.

10. Glue the flaps to the ring, crisscrossing like you did for the top. Glue the 12" diameter ring with the 10" diameter hole to the first ring, around the flaps. You may have to trim the ring narrower in some places. Glue the third ring to the narrow ring and the flaps.

11. The hat is built!

Isn't that cool?! Now for the fun part: decorating.


12. Place the hat on a piece of fabric and wrap the fabric up around the brim to determine how much you need in order to cover the entire brim (about 20" diameter circle). Mark/cut the circle of fabric. Glue the fabric to the brim along the seam between the brim and the top, working on opposite sides to keep the fabric centered.

13. Trim away any excess fabric around the top edge. Flip the hat over. Carefully cut an oval out of the center of the fabric about 5" in diameter.

14. Cut slits in the fabric ever inch or so to create flaps.

Glue the flaps to the inside of the hat. Cover the flaps with a strip of fabric or piece of ribbon, if desired.

15. Place the hat upside down on a piece of fabric and wrap the fabric up around the top/sides to determine how much you need in order to cover the entire top/sides (about 30" diameter circle). Mark/cut the circle of fabric. Glue the fabric to the side along the seam between the brim and the side, working on opposite sides to keep the fabric centered.

Trim away any excess fabric around the edge. Cover the joint area with a strip of fabric or a ribbon.

DONE! Add whatever decorations you like, throw the hat on your head, and get ready to receive compliments on the awesome hat you just made.